x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

It's going to be tougher over there

I am absolutely thrilled that Nick Faldo has chosen to make me one of his two captain's picks

Paul Casey in action during the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in January 2008.
Paul Casey in action during the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in January 2008.

I am absolutely thrilled that Nick Faldo has chosen to make me one of his two captain's picks. It is very flattering considering the large number of in-form players he had to choose from and I hope I will keep up my recent form for Nick and the European team. I have had the fantastic experience of being part of two winning European Ryder Cup sides and hope that we can make it a third at Valhalla.

When you play in one Ryder Cup, you want to play in the next, and the next. You cannot beat standing on the first tee in front of the big crowds, the opening and closing ceremony. Those all rank so high in moments to remember. That's why you are there and why you want to be part of it so much. I always get asked about it from the press many months before it actually takes place and it is quite funny when at every conference there's a question about it, but there's a huge build up to it and everyone is interested.

Golf is a sport that is 90 per cent about the individual so I've never been a huge fan of team sports because you could play great yourself, but still end up on the losing side. Or there is that flat feeling when you've had a bad day, but the team won. How satisfying is that? Personally I didn't enjoy that; I wanted to be in control of the result, have it in my own hands. It might be the same for others so the fact we all push so hard to strive to be part of this team is actually quite bizarre.

I think it's because we want to represent our country, our region and be part of history. It's a great feeling to have been part of two winning teams. There's a lot of pressure during that week so we take a lot of pride and satisfaction in what we have achieved after victory. The best feeling about last time at the K Club two years ago was winning as a team. It was a great experience because the spirit was so good and everyone played their part. You never know how it is going to pan out and while we were confident, we were lucky it turned out to be a record-equalling nine-point margin again.

My hole-in-one - the first to win a match in the Ryder Cup - was the icing on the cake. It was a truly memorable moment and something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I was lucky though. There are a lot of people involved in the Ryder Cup and there are really just a few who enjoy an individual moment like that: the guy who holes the winning putt or the first tee shot. Those are what you might remember so I feel very lucky by what happened to me.

The match was almost over and so for that hole-in-one to happen on the 14th hole of the foursomes when it did, and then we [David Howell and I] turn around and shake hands [with Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson], well, what more could you ask? I feel very, very lucky because for the past couple of years, people have seen me and that is what they mention. It's great because you want to be remembered for good things like that.

It's going to be tougher over there and I don't think you are going to see any more record scores. The Americans are too good for that this time, very good. But the European team will always fight for every point, as we have proven time again. @Email:sports@thenational.ae